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Category Archives: Social Media
When we tell brands to be “more human” it’s rare that they immediately understand how it translates on social media. Tim Howell set the stage for this blog when he asked businesses to ask themselves why it was important to “be human” on social media. In this blog, I’ll look at how businesses can effectively be “more human” while still meeting their social media goals.
I believe that part of the answer can be found by looking to Humans of New York (HONY).
More specifically, HONY is a website that gives people everywhere “daily glimpses into the lives of strangers in New York City”.
These people aren’t famous. They are normal, everyday people walking the streets of New York. And their photos and stories have transformed into something almost magical – creating news, inspiring imitators, and serving as great platforms for calls to action.
It is visual. It is storytelling. It is measurable. And at its core, it is undeniably human.
So how can companies use the magic of HONY’s humanness to inspire their brand’s social media content?
Step 1. Highlight the Human Side.
Every business has a story to tell. There may be a single person who embodies the spirit of your brand, or an entire department that spends everyday living up to your brand promise. You are a company made up of people. Embrace it – your audience will.
Step 2. Write Well. Write Often.
You are as strong as your content. If you go to a party and tell the same story over and over, eventually people will stop paying attention to you. Social media is the same way. Part of the appeal of HONY is the stories behind the photos, told through short, platform appropriate captions. New content is posted daily to multiple platforms, which brings me to the next point…
Step 3. Know Your Platforms.
You wouldn’t use YouTube to post photos and you wouldn’t ask someone on Tumblr to “Like this post!” Great content will go nowhere if it was posted to the wrong platform. The visual nature of Tumblr and the ease of sharing across the network made it ideal for HONY. Adding in the virality and reach of Facebook enhanced the reach and awareness of the brand. Before you post, ask yourself: are the capabilities of the platform aligned with the needs of my brand?
Remember: the “Robot Revolution” hasn’t happened yet. If you want to successfully communicate with humans, you need to be human.
When she’s not working as a marketing manager for Make Me Social, Mandi Frishman drinks a lot of tea. During her time studying at The University of Florida, Mandi became convinced in the power of learning through play. She has since committed herself to playing (and learning) all day, every day.
My wife says I don’t read enough and she’s right. I’m not sure anyone really does. Even her; book, or Kindle in hand every evening as Storage Wars and Duck Dynasty provide the soundtrack for whatever world she’s been transported to.
[Before I continue, I would just like to take a moment to thank A&E for making my evenings just that much better.]
Then I start to count the number of headlines I consume in a day. It’s startling.
From Fierce feeds to Smart Briefs to the magic of Flipboard [again a pause to say thanks for reinventing my world news experience], the total headlines in a day can top 1,000 easy – discounting for the breaking story that hits me 8 – 10 times depending on the category.
So let’s consider the impact those headlines have on decision-making – not just mine, but anyone’s.
For example, a prospect we’ve been working with in the Financial Services industry is trying to empower their advisors with more education and control of information to best support their end clients.
Consider an advisor that needs to read and understand and interpret financial data, trends, risk tolerances, past, present and future performance of multiple markets and client portfolios, squaring off with a client that just got finished reading their 1,000 headlines, some several times, most likely leaving a stronger impression on them.
Put yourself in the advisor’s seat and think about the questions you could get. Ever hear the phrase “out of left field?”
And, by the way, we’re fighting our own brains when we’re trying to interpret what we’ve just read:
This scenario applies to anyone in an advisory position, whether you’re developing products, helping to bring them to market or closing the sale at the end of the chain.
You can even remove the business aspect of this overload and apply it to parenting, dieting, socializing. We are creating our own disadvantages by generating too much information and ways to consume it.
How do we solve for this?
1) Don’t write to confuse
I’ve had a number of conversations lately where people will listen to me speak and ask, “what does that mean?”
The question isn’t driven from a lack of clarity in words used to express my ideas. It’s because they are looking for hidden meanings and motivations.
We’re all interpreting instead of being plain. Let’s be plain and let the complexity unfold in dialogue and exchange of ideas.
In other words, do what you say and say what you do.
2) Be more selective in what we write
I can’t fault anyone for trying to make a living. Your top 10 list might just be the next one to get chiseled out on stone and carried forward as commandments.
Just take care that what you’re writing is unique, delivers a different perspective, or adds value to an existing conversation. Parroting doesn’t add real value [leave it alone, search marketers]. Your audience will thank you for it.
3) Write everything like it’s The Pelican Brief
No, I didn’t read the book. Remember, I don’t read enough. But the movie has recently come to mind for me as a great approach to making sure what we get in our newsfeeds is the penultimate of thoughts and words.
Imagine if every headline you read was from an author being chased through New Orleans by trained assassins because their thoughts and words could shift the balance of power as we know it. How cool would that be? Seriously. Let’s say you do have that phenomenal top 10 list that we all need to read. Great. Own it. Shout it from the roof tops. Make sure your audience knows what you’ve uncovered and don’t let them leave until you’re sure they’ve understood it. And be prepared. That could take years. It doesn’t need to be new to be right.
Write like that and we’ll all be better for it.
JOSH JORDAN is the Founder and President of Make Me Social. Josh has spent the majority of his career blending his passion for people, technology and community development to create real relationships for brands and their message. Josh and his wife Jennifer live in St. Augustine, FL where they volunteer their time and energy to support the local arts and children’s charities and spend endless hours keeping their 19 month old son, George, entertained.